Returning from a country outside the travel corridor? Here’s what you need to know 

Michaela Bobulinski

 April 9, 2021

As of now, UK citizens are instructed to stay at home and avoid travel, unless it is for exceptional reasons such as work. You should work from home where possible and stay at home until coronavirus restrictions are officially eased. Travel abroad for leisure or for holidays is currently illegal. If you are traveling to the UK, you must take a PCR test up to 72 hours before entry at the UK border. You will need to book and pay for a travel test package, at a cost of £210. This package includes two tests that must be taken on the second and eighth day of your quarantine. You’ll also need to complete a passenger locator form, which includes giving an address where you will be quarantined for a full 10 days upon entry to the UK. If you break quarantine rules, you could face a hefty fine of up to £10,000.

Travel corridors were suspended on 18th January 2021. The government now has a travel ban red-list that all travelers should be aware of before leaving and entering the UK. If you enter the UK having traveled through or after visiting one of the countries stated on the travel ban red-list, you will need to quarantine in a government-controlled quarantine hotel. You will be refused entry to the UK until you have completed the quarantine process and the full ten-day quarantine period – this is because it takes up to 10 days for a person to display symptoms of the coronavirus.

If you are entering the UK from a non-red-list country, you must quarantine for ten days at the location that you state on your passenger locator form. The government has however introduced a Test-to-Release scheme, which can reduce the amount of time you need to quarantine for. By booking and paying for a private PCR test from a government-approved Test-to-Release provider, if you test negative, you can end quarantine early. You will not however be allowed to take a test for Test-to-Release until you have been in the UK for five full days. The test will need to be booked and paid for before you depart for the UK – However, if you test positive for Covid, you will need to quarantine for another 10 days.

When you arrive back in the UK, you should travel straight to the place where you will be quarantining. You should aim to spend as little time in the airport as possible, and avoid public transport if you can. Wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing and wear a face covering in public places. Avoid traveling during busy times or where there may be large groups of people.

Once you are in quarantine, you cannot have visitors to your home and must remain inside at all times. You can quarantine at a family home, with friends, or at your own home, but must stay there for 10 full days. If you are using the Test-to-Release scheme, after five days, if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you can end the quarantine process. You will need to arrange for childcare, dog walking, food provisions, and other services to be carried out by another family member or friend. You cannot leave quarantine to exercise, and can only use a private garden to exercise outdoors. NHS volunteer responders are also on hand to offer support and services that you cannot go outdoors to access. Only in exceptional circumstances can you leave home, such as to escape domestic violence, or to move if you can no longer stay where you are.

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